Germans prepared for the hydrogen car

Berlin 19, March 2013: Almost all Germans have heard of hydrogen cars, most of them are excited about it. They are not afraid of risks, but they are skeptical about the costs and supply of hydrogen refueling stations. Hydrogen will make an important contribution to the German energy transition by being produced decentralised and from renewable energy sources.

This is the core result of the representative survey on hydrogen mobility presented by the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU). The survey is part of the social scientific research project HyTrust that surveyed more than 2,500 citizens about their opinion on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the field of mobility. This project is funded by the National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Technology (NOW).

The scientific project manager Dr. René Zimmer from UfU explains the origin of the enthusiasm: "The hydrogen car has the same benefits as the conventional car and promises zero-emission mobility as an added value. This means driving a car with a quiet conscience." It is therefore important to citizens that the hydrogen used for hydrogen cars is produced from renewable energies.

The Germans have no safety concerns. They trust in German engineering, the severity of the TÜV (Technical Control Board) and the thoroughness of the authorities. If a hydrogen car gets a road approval, is assumed that it will be at least as safe as any other vehicle. 89 percent of the citizens say: "If hydrogen cars are officially sold, I assume that they are safe." They would even have nothing against living next to a hydrogen filling station. This risk is not rated higher than the risk to live next a conventional gas station.

The Germans are skeptical whether there will be a sufficient network of hydrogen refueling stations in the near future and whether hydrogen cars will be affordable. Zimmer: "As long as the network of refueling stations isn’t built, and the probable costs of hydrogen cars are significantly higher than those of conventional vehicles, the willingness to buy remains limited."

However, there is a lot of confidence in the marketability of hydrogen vehicles: "Three out of four respondents expect that it will be possible to buy such a car within the next ten years." According to René Zimmer this may give manufacturers enough flexibility for the market introduction of hydrogen cars.


Presentation for Download

Jörg Welke, UfU
Greifswalder Strasse 4, 10405 Berlin
Tel: ++49-30-428 4993-36
Fax: ++49-30-428 00 485



Hydrogen as fuel

"Yes, my friends, I believe that water will one day be employed as fuel, that hydrogen and oxygen which constitute it, used singly or together, will furnish an inexhaustible source of heat and light, of an intensity of which coal is not capable. Water will be the coal of the future."

(Cyrus Smith in Jules Vernes novel "THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND", 1874)

Duration: September 2009 – August 2013

Project managment: Independent Institute for Environmental Issues
Greifswalder Strasse 4
10405 Berlin
Tel.: 030-428 49 93-34

Gouvernment authorities: The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development represented by the National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.